Monday, August 25, 2014

MOJO to celebrate music of the 'First Ladies of Jazz' Music Tonight

Monday is ladies' night for the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed.

The August edition of MOJO's monthly Jazz Jambalaya series spotlights the "First Ladies of Jazz" with a program featuring vocalist Kathy Lyons. Lyons will sing selections made famous by the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O'Day and Diana Krall.
Lyons will be backed by a band including Gino Rosaria, JoJo Morris and Bryan Morris. The program will feature narration by John Nodar.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25, at the Gulf City Lodge, 601 State St. in downtown Mobile. Admission is $8 for MOJO members, $12 for nonmembers; student and military rates are available. The price includes a light jambalaya dinner.

For more information, call 251-459-2298, e-mail or go to

Saturday, August 23, 2014

James Morrison and Emma Pask celebrate 20 years of making Jazz Music

Their friendship has outlasted many marriages, so it's understandable that jazz artists James Morrison and Emma Pask have taken to the road to celebrate their 20-year alliance.
The jazz trumpet star and the singer love to retell the story of how Morrison plucked a 17-year-old Pask from her school band at Kirrawee High in Sydney's south to perform on stage with him afterwards.

"I thought he was staring because my shirt was untucked – I was always getting in trouble for that," says Pask, now 37. Instead, the jazz veteran had been blown away by Pask's voice and that night was the start of a partnership that has taken the pair all over the world to perform to packed venues.

Says Pask: "When I want to annoy him I say he's a father figure, but really he's more like a big brother – a musical and life mentor. He's guided me through some ups and downs and we know each other inside out."

Their current tour, which has already taken them to Brisbane and Melbourne, combines their talents with a full big band and swing classics from Gershwin, Miller, Sinatra and Ellington.

Morrison is relishing the experience. "As far as jazz goes, this is as big as it gets," he says. "I don't know an artist who doesn't get a smile on their face when a big band fires up behind them."

He says he and Pask, who he says is like his "little sister",  can't wait to play the Sydney show. "It's home for both of us. It's going to be a good time."

James Morrison and his Big Band Tour is at Sydney Town Hall, Saturday 20 September 7.30pm

Read more:

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Old Duke Jazz Festival over the Bank Holiday weekend in Bristol

The Old Duke Jazz Festival has been an annual highlight for Bristol music lovers for the best part of four decades and this weekend's three-day event promises to be better than ever.

The King Street pub has long been one of the city's most important musical landmarks and the annual festival on the cobbles between the Old Duke and the equally famous Llandoger Trow pub opposite pulls together a line-up featuring many of the bands that perform at the Old Duke throughout the year.

This weekend's line-up includes a combination of old favourites like The Blue Notes, The Severn Jazzmen, Eddie Martin's Blues Band and The Robin Reece Jazz Band, alongside more recent additions to the weekly programme like Fromage en Feu, who make their festival debut.

Old Duke landlord Stuart Seydel has been running the festival since he took over the pub 13 years ago and, although he admits it's not easy to organise, he says it's still worth the hard work and late nights involved.

Stuart says: "The festival has been going for nearly 40 years now and we've had some brilliant performers, including the legendary Acker Bilk, so I think its history plays a major role in its popularity, plus the fact it's free.

"Since I took over 13 years ago, the festival has grown, but we've had to scale it back over the last few years as it was getting too big for the space.

"The bands are largely bands who play regularly at the Duke, with occasional special guests, but ultimately the festival is about the Duke and a showcase of what we do here every night of the week, all year round."

The Old Duke continues to be an important hub for the city's jazz and blues musicians and Stuart says the scene is getting better all the time, with new bands coming through.

"There are some great young jazz bands coming through at the moment. There are people such as James Morton, who play modern jazz, but also bands playing more traditional jazz such as The Rhythm Pencils and Jazz Disaster.

"The trad jazz is still very important to us; it's what the pub, and therefore the festival, is all about. You just need to look at the posters on the walls and ceiling in the pub to know that.

"There are some great new trad jazz acts coming through and I think the style will stay around for a long time yet. One of the highlights of this year will be Sinead McCabe, who will be singing with Cass Caswell's New Orleans Update on the Monday evening. Sunday night headliner Eddie Martin is also always worth seeing."

For musician and singer Eddie Martin, who has been running a regular Sunday blues night at the pub for more than 20 years, the Old Duke has become a second home, when he's not touring the world with his band.

Eddie says: "The Old Duke has always been a fantastic and unique music venue. It is the closest thing me and several of my touring international musician friends have experienced to the vibe of New Orleans.

"Good music, energetic appreciative party-spirit fans and an all-inclusive everyone- is-welcome atmosphere: I love it.

"Stu the landlord is great at keeping this alive through recruiting like-minded, personable and friendly staff and making it better every year."

For jazz musician Jeremy Huggett, the Old Duke has been a big part of his life since he was a baby. In fact, he claims his love of jazz music stems from the fact he was still in the womb when his mother used to go to the pub to hear his father playing clarinet and sax at the venue.

As a child, he went to the Old Duke to see his dad perform and later started working at the pub collecting glasses, before serving behind the bar and eventually becoming the assistant manager in 1990.

Jeremy made his musical Old Duke debut guesting with his father's band, the Severn Jazzmen, when he was aged 14. Since then, he has become one of the jazz scene's most in-demand musicians, playing with famous names all over the country, including Acker Bilk, Digby Fairweather, George Melly and Humphrey Lyttleton.

Jeremy has played at every Old Duke Jazz Festival since 1998 and this year is bringing one of his newest bands, The Harlem 5, to the event. Playing a mixture of jazz, swing and blues, they close the festival on Monday.

He says: "The Old Duke holds a special place in my heart and, out of all the different venues I have played both in the UK and abroad, it's still my favourite. It feels like coming home."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

St. James Studio Presents Wonderful Jazz Music Greats Series Starting This Fall

Following the hugely successful Jazz Divas series which took place during the summer of 2014, JGB Events make a welcome return to the St. James Studio this autumn with The Wonderful Music of the Jazz Greats series. The four event series presents the music of artists who changed the face of jazz alongside tales and anecdotes.
A special Christmas event will also be presented in the studio by JGB Events, Jazz at the Movies Swinging Christmas, on Friday 05 December at 8pm.


Featuring Mark Crooks on clarinet

Saturday 18 October at 8pm

With Colin Oxley on guitar, John Pearce on piano, Dave Chamberlain on bass and Matt Home on drums.

Benny Goodman was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinettist and bandleader known as The King of Swing, who led one of the most popular musical groups in America during the 1930s. Artie Shaw was widely regarded as one of jazz's finest clarinettists and also led one of the most popular big bands in the United States in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Their music will be presented by a band led by Mark Crooks, member of the John Wilson Orchestra, who makes a welcome return to the St. James Studio having featured in Jazz at The Movies and Brazilian Bossa Nova tribute to Jobim earlier in 2014.


Featuring Simon Brown's Beyond Cantaloupe

Saturday 01 November at 8pm

Joining Simon Brown on piano are Freddie Gavita playing trumpet and flugelhorn, Kevin Flanagan with tenor saxophone, Calum Gourlay on bass and Lewis Wright on drums.

Herbie Hancock remains an influential pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer whose music is melodic and accessible, embracing elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz and blues.

Through Simon Brown's faithful transcriptions, Beyond Cantaloupe authentically captures the sound of Herbie's compositions, whilst leaving the performers free to improvise.


Featuring Keith Nichols on piano

Saturday 15 November at 8pm

Accompanied by Trevor Whiting on clarinet and Martin Wheatley on acoustic guitar and banjo.

In the late 1890s Scott Joplin and Tony Turpin, among others, created a new American classical music, which decades later became universally popular with musicians including Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller.

Keith Nichols is one of the foremost authorities on Ragtime and the Guildhall School of Music graduate has given regular concerts on London's South Bank, at New York's Carnegie Hall and across Europe.


Featuring Chris Ingham's Rebop

Saturday 29 November at 8pm

Chris Ingham's Rebop sextet comprises Paul Higgs on trumpet, Colin Watling on tenor saxophone, Kevin Flanagan on alto saxophone, Chris Ingham on piano, Arnie Somogyi on bass and George Double on drums.

Miles Davis, trumpeter, bandleader and composer is widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century. Together with his musical groups he was at the forefront of the major developments in jazz music including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz and jazz fusion.

Chris Igham on piano brings his hard driving Rebop ensemble, evoking the style and sounds of the wonderful music of the Miles Davis Sextet, plus their own imaginative creativity and improvisations. No stranger to the St. James Studio, this extraordinary compilation follows his sell out Hoagy Carmichael and Jazz at The Movies events earlier this year.


Featuring Joanna Eden

Friday 05 December at 8pm

A sparkling evening of swinging Christmas music from the movies, featuring vocals from Joanna Eden, Mark Crooks on saxophone, Chris Ingham on piano, Andrew Brown on bass and George Double on drums.

Lansing's Gallery Suite Jazz Series to feature U.K. Talent

Lansing’s Gallery Suite Jazz Series, spearheaded by Lansing saxophone great Phil Denny, just finished up its 18th consecutive sold out performance, and the next show is shaping up to be equally successful.
Oli Silk is one of the most talented jazz keyboardists and producers coming out of the U.K. right now, and today, he will bring his music to the Gallery Suite Jazz Series at the La Fille Gallery in Lansing.

Silk spoke with us about his love for jazz music, the U.K. jazz community and his latest album, “Razor Sharp Bit.”

Q: When did you first get into jazz music, and what drew you to the genre?

A: I was exposed to jazz, funk and soul music from a very young age through my older brother in particular, who was a huge vinyl collector. It was the first time I got to hear artists like Jeff Lorber, George Duke and The Crusaders.

Q: You’re based in the U.K. What is the jazz community like there?

A: The scene over here is quite thriving actually, we have a cool club in London called Pizza Express Jazz Club which hosts many of the big U.S. contemporary jazz artists every year. We also have several other satellite venues around the South which is exciting.

Q: You recently released a new album, “Razor Sharp Bit.” Tell me about the writing and recording process for this album.

A: Razor Sharp is my fourth solo studio album for Trippin’ Records.

It’s a project I was really psyched about as I managed to write and feature some great guest artists like Chuck Loeb, Paul Brown and Elan Trotman. The first single “At Your Service” featuring bassist Julian Vaughn went all the way to the top of the Billboard Radio Top 30, which was just fantastic.

Q: How did you end up booking the Lansing show? Do you know Phil Denny, who organizes the event?

A: I sure do! Phil and I had a blast playing together in Dubai a couple of years ago and really hit it off. We’ve stayed in touch ever since and now we’re due to share the stage again in Lansing.

Q: What should fans expect from your Lansing gig?

A: They should expect a cool mix of smooth down tempo piano-led melodies and some funky grooves that’ll get you out of your seat!

Mr. Denny will be showing what he can do on the sax and we’re also hoping for a special guest vocalist too which will really complement my vibe.

Q: Tell me about your radio show.

A: I host a really cool internet radio show for two hours every Monday evening at 7 p.m., playing a mix of brand new hot-of-the-press smooth jazz and classic vocal and instrumental music. It airs at Tune in!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Well, after the Lansing show, Phil and I have a cool festival show in Muskegon on Aug. 24, and then I’m off down to the Carolinas for a couple of shows.

The rest of this year is busy for me playing with Peter White, Dave Koz and Euge Groove and also starting work on album No. 5.

• Show details: Lansing’s Gallery Suite Jazz Series with Oli Silk, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m today, La Fille Gallery, 336 E Michigan Ave., Lansing, tickets $25 plug charges via http://olisilk.brown

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jazz and Chinese music fireworks by SCO, Brubeck Brothers Quartet

It is a curious fact here that when one wants to hear symphonic jazz and crossover music, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra are the go to people.
In the past year, the SCO has presented an all-Gershwin concert, collaborated with country fiddler Mark O'Connor and brought back Chris Brubeck, the ever-versatile jazzman son of legend Dave Brubeck. His third appearance here came in the Singapore debut of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, playing with the SCO at the Singapore Conference Hall on Friday and Saturday night.

Alongside Chris was his brother drummer Dan, guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb, who dominated centrestage, discreetly supported by the orchestra conducted by music director Yeh Tsung. It is the very nature of crossover symphonic concerts that the special guests were the main draw, and the quartet performing mostly original music by Dave Brubeck did not disappoint.

Chris was the main spokesman, regaling the audience with anecdotes about each piece and their inspirations. Then he comfortably alternated between electric bass guitar, trombone and later even crooning, exuding that intense yet nonchalant air that only jazz people know how. In My One Bad Habit Is Falling In Love, the title from a quote by Ella Fitzgerald, his trombone poured out the moody blues, contrasted by the heady procession of tunes in The Basie Band Is Back In Town.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jazz pioneer Cecil Taylor allegedly swindled of $500,000 Kyoto prize

Cecil Taylor had a prize sum of nearly half a million dollars stolen from him by a general contractor who befriended the pioneering jazz pianist while working next to his house in New York City, according to a criminal court in Brooklyn.
Noel Muir, from New York’s Long Island, could face up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted. He is currently waiting arraignment on a charge of grand larceny in Brooklyn’s criminal court.

Taylor, one of the key figures in the free-jazz revolution, was invited to collect the prestigious Kyoto prize by Japan’s Inamori Foundation in November 2013. According to a statement by the district attorney in Brooklyn, Muir, a contractor who had worked for Taylor’s neighbour, joined him for the event and helped the musician prepare for the trip.

While in Japan, Taylor, 85, is said to have provided the Inamori Foundation with details of his bank account in order for the Kyoto prize money to be wired directly. Muir claims the name on the account was The Cecil Taylor Foundation, and that a wire for $492,722.55 (£293, 227.02) arrived two weeks after the ceremony.

However, the prosecutor’s statement said the account was under the name MCAI Construction, Muir’s own company. The account has since been depleted. Muir allegedly took out part of Taylor’s money in cash, and spent the rest on his construction business, the law enforcement official said.

“The defendant befriended Mr Taylor and won his trust, which later made it easier for him to allegedly swindle this vulnerable, elderly and great jazz musician,” said district attorney Kenneth Thompson.

Muir turned himself in on Tuesday. His lawyer has declined to comment further.

According to Associated Press, Taylor did not want to talk about the case during his time in court, instead musing on the “quality of trees on the train ride between Tokyo and Kyoto, the Kabuki dancers he had once seen in a Balanchine ballet, and the conductor Pierre Boulez”.

The annual Kyoto prize is an international award to honour individuals who have contributed significantly to “the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind”.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Enjoy dinner, jazz music at Castle in the Clouds

Every Thursday evening during summer, you can enjoy dinner and jazz music at the Castle in the Clouds.
The evening events are by reservation only and held from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

It is offered on the terrace at the Carriage House.

Tickets for the music are required in advance of the event, and are $10 per person.

To make reservations for any of these events, call 603-476-5414.

They recommend calling at least one week in advance as they can book very quickly and are filled through mid-August, but have availability from Thursday on.

Learn more about the event, including the musicians to be featured on the program calendar at

Located off Route 171 at 455 Old Mountain Road, the property was once Tom and Olive Plant's mountaintop estate.

Lucknow as they called it, was built in 1913-1914. It was open to the public in 1959.

Designed by the architectural firm of J. Williams Beal & Sons of Boston, the house not only exhibits skilled hand craftsmanship in every aspect of its interior and exterior, but also features a number of technological innovations of the early 20th century.

Plant made his fortune in the shoe manufacturing industry, retiring as a millionaire at age 51.

Newly married in 1913, Plant focused on his New Hampshire country estate. In addition to buying the property known as Ossipee Mountain Park, Plant accumulated land from the Ossipee Mountains all the way to Lake Winnipesaukee, eventually owning 6,300 acres.

After a series of failed investments, Plant attempted, from the mid-1920s through the era of the Great Depression, to sell the mountaintop estate.

However, no buyer was found.

The Plants continued to live at Lucknow until Tom Plant's death in 1941, at which time the property was sold.

Plant's desire to maintain the integrity of his mountaintop estate property and the stewardship of the families who owned the property since his time have ensured that Lucknow survived in close to its original state and that its magnificent natural setting can be enjoyed by all today.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival Big Hit, Boon for Downtown

The lilting sounds of big band music, jazz and merengue drifted over the downtown on Saturday, drawing about 1,000 people to Court Square during what emerged as a banner weekend for the city.

Spectacular blue skies. Legendary basketball stars. A top notch lineup for the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival, where tons of people set up chairs on the city's green to listen to the likes of Phil Woods with the Greg Caputo Big Band, Mikata, and the Charmaine Neville Band featuring Charles Neville of the famed musical family.

Nearly each act brought down the house and meanwhile, Charmaine Neville and 22-year-old saxophone phenom Grace Kelly offered music workshops at the nearby Community Music School on State Street.

"This makes me proud to live in Springfield. I wish they had things like this more often," said resident Mindy Garcia, who came down for the festival with her husband, Edward Garcia.

The festival, which was free, also featured a beer tent and local food vendors including Adolfo's, Nadim's, the Q Restaurant and Elegant Affairs.

"It's not Newport - yet!" Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joked to the crowd before presenting Woods, a Springfield native and graduate of the former Springfield Technical High School, with a key to the city.

"I don't give many of these out," Sarno said, estimating that he has bestowed less than a handful throughout his three terms as mayor.

Woods, 82, went to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City and has played alto saxophone with Count Basie, Quincy Jones and Billy Joel, to name a few.

"I couldn't be more proud," he told the crowd. "My parents always told me to be the best at whatever I did, so I'm trying to do that."

Ambassador Evan Plotkin, a downtown real estate developer and one of the primary organizers of the event, said jazz music unites crowds like few other art forms.

"I love music, I love jazz, and I love things that bring people together. There's nothing like jazz to bring people together," Plotkin said. "It's like a perfect storm."

This year's jazz festival revived a jazz festival founded by former city worker John G. Osborn, who also was honored at the festival. This was the first in four years, Plotkin said.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Jazz Singer Jane Monheit to Play Iron Horse in Northampton

Although she had written lyrics to some of her songs before, jazz vocalist Jane Monheit had never recorded a tune she had completely written by herself until last year's "Night Night Stars" on her album "The Heart of the Matter."
"It's not the first time I've written a song, it's just the first time I put one on an album because I finally had one I liked enough to record," she said.

Monheit took a few minutes from her current tour to talk about her career and music. The Grammy Award-winning vocalist will play the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on Aug. 16.

On being an song interpreter more than a singer/songwriter:
I don't really consider myself songwriter. I'm more of an interpreter. Writing songs is not something I do every day. But I do like to write when the time is right.

On mashing up The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" and "The Long and Winding Road" on her most recent album:
It was my husband's idea. I've wanted to do "Golden Slumbers" forever. But I knew I couldn't do it by itself. I had the pair it with something. But somewhere along the line, it was Rick's idea to parent with "The Long and Winding Road," which immediately hit me as a brilliant idea. It's great when you put two songs together in a medley and instead of just being what they are, they mean even more when they're together.

On how she chooses songs to sing and record:
It's always sort of on my mind. I'm always on the lookout. And the thing about the Great American Songbook is that most of the songs are ones I've known all my life. But it will become the right moment for one. It will be a song I've known forever and then I will realize that now is the time to do it. They just kind of find me.

On working with renowned producer Gil Goldstein again:
He's a genius. He's Gil Goldstein and everything he does is amazing. That goes without saying. But in addition to that, he's the sweetest, loveliest person imaginable. He's a wonderful energy to have in the studio. I really adore him.

On having her husband, drummer Rick Montalbano in her band:
It totally works. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. (Laughs.) It's really that simple. It just works for us to work together. I think we'd be really unhappy if we couldn't work together. Ultimately it's separate from our marriage. If we weren't a couple, we would still work together.

On advice she'd give her younger self when starting out in the music business:
I think I'd tell myself not to be afraid of the industry bullies. Because I'm not now, but I was then. I guess I would tell myself not to get so upset over being pushed around.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jazz Music Listings for August 8 to August 14

Fabian Almazan Trio (Tuesday through Aug. 17) 

A serious-minded pianist originally from Cuba, Fabian Almazan has been establishing himself as one of the important younger voices in the polyglot stir of modern jazz. He’ll draw from his confident new album, “Rhizome,” starting out with a trio featuring the bassist Thomas Morgan and the drummer Henry Cole. (After Thursday, he’ll add a string quartet). At 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village, 212-255-4037,; $25 and $30 cover, with a one-drink minimum.

Brooklyn Jazz Underground Festival (Tuesday and Thursday) 

The Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a coalition of artists with a borough and an aesthetic in common, presents its eighth annual showcase, with a night apiece in two clubs. On Tuesday at Smalls in Greenwich Village, a parade of roughly hourlong sets will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the David Smith Quintet, followed by the Anne Mette Iversen Quartet, the Adam Kolker Quartet, the David Cook Quintet and Owen Howard’s Drum Lore. On Thursday at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, the Tammy Scheffer Sextet performs at 7 p.m., and the Rob Garcia 4 takes over at 8:15 p.m. Closing out the festivities, at 9:30 p.m., is the in-house Brooklyn Jazz Underground Ensemble, previewing music from its album “7x7.” Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 West 10th Street, West Village,; $20. Thursday at 7 p.m., ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn,; $15.

Regina Carter Quartet (Thursday through Aug. 17) 

On her spirited new album, “Southern Comfort,” Ms. Carter, the acclaimed jazz violinist, takes a close look at American roots music, with a clear emphasis on the African-American experience. She draws from the album in this engagement, featuring a spry backing band with Marvin Sewell on guitar, Will Holshouser on accordion, Chris Lightcap on bass and Alvester Garnett, her husband, on drums. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., with an 11:30 p.m. set on Aug. 16, Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, Manhattan, 212-576-2232,; $25 and $30.

Celebrating 60 Years of ‘Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown’ (Tuesday and Wednesday) 

The cumbersome title of this anniversary tribute doesn’t offset its potential, mainly because the album in question starring one of jazz’s greatest-ever singers and one of its greatest-ever trumpeters, both in peak form still retains all of its power. Sean Jones and Keyon Harrold stand in for Brown on trumpet, and Kennedy and Joanna Teters do the same for Vaughan on vocals; the rhythm section consists of Raymond Angry on piano, Chris Smith on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway, 212-258-9595,; $35 cover, with a $10 minimum; $20 for students at select sets. )

Nels Cline at the Stone (through Sunday) 

Nels Cline might be best known in some corners of the world as the lead guitarist of Wilco, but at the Stone, where he is in residence this week, that’s a mere footnote to his career. Among the highlights of his closing stretch this weekend are a series of acoustic guitar duets with Elliott Sharp (Friday at 10 p.m.); Reunited, with the accordionist Andrea Parkins and the drummer Tom Rainey (Saturday at 8 p.m.); and Old Themes with New Schemes, another guitar duo, with Mary Halvorson (Sunday at 10 p.m.). At Avenue C and Second Street, East Village, 212-473-0043,; $15 per set, $10 for students.

Cosmic Lieder Duo/Farmers By Nature (Saturday) 

The estimable avant-garde label Aum Fidelity presents a double album-release show, featuring artists at the heart of its current roster. First up, at 7:30 p.m., is the Cosmic Lieder Duo, composed of the alto saxophonist Darius Jones and the pianist Matthew Shipp, improvisers of penetrating insight; their new album is “The Darkseid Recital.” Then at 8:45 p.m., drawing from “Love and Ghosts,” is Farmers by Nature, a texture-alert collective featuring the drummer Gerald Cleaver, the bassist William Parker and the pianist Craig Taborn; doors open at 7 p.m. ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn,; $15.

Kris Davis Trio Plays Standards

The name of the booking is instructive, because Kris Davis — a pianist of fearless instinct and deep insight — has not made a public habit of dipping into the standard songbook. Her partners, well suited to the mission at hand, are the bassist Michael Formanek and the drummer Billy Drummond. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, 212-989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Django Reinhardt NY Festival (Friday through Sunday) 

This celebration of Gypsy swing is celebrating its 15th anniversary, with the usual profusion of fleet-fingered European guitarists — Samson Schmitt, DouDou Cuillerier and Olli Soikkelii — alongside festival stalwarts like the accordionist Ludovic Beier. Among the special guests this weekend are the singer Jane Monheit (Friday), the harpist Edmar Castañeda (Saturday) and the trombonist Chris Washburne (Sunday). At 8:30 and 11 p.m., Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton, 212-581-3080,; $45 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Orrin Evans Quintet (Friday and Saturday) 

The pianist Orrin Evans, a one-man post-bop wrecking crew, has a strong new album, “Liberation Blues,” made with a band much like this one. He draws from its varied repertory with the trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, the tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, the bassist Luques Curtis and the drummer Clarence Penn. At 7, 9 and 10:30 p.m., Smoke, 2751 Broadway, at 106th Street, 212-864-6662,; $38 cover, with a $10 minimum for the 10:30 p.m. set.

Wycliffe Gordon Quintet (Friday and Saturday) 

A charismatic trombonist specializing in gutbucket swing, Wycliffe Gordon leads a band with Adrian Cunningham on saxophone and clarinet, Chris Pattishall on piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Alvin Atkinson Jr. on drums. At 8 and 10 p.m., Jazz at Kitano, 66 Park Avenue, at 38th Street, 212-885-7119,; $30 cover, with a $15 minimum.

Sherman Irby Quintet: The Music of Art Blakey (Friday through Sunday) 

The alto saxophonist Sherman Irby, a prominent member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, specializes in a soulful but searching brand of hard bop. That among other things makes him a good fit for this tribute to Art Blakey, also featuring the trombonist Vincent Gardner, the pianist Eric Reed, the bassist Gerald Cannon and the drummer Willie Jones III. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway, 212-258-9595,; $35 to $45 cover, with a $10 minimum; $25 for students at select sets.

Earl Klugh (Tuesday through Aug. 17) 

An acoustic guitarist with impeccable touch, Mr. Klugh draws partly from “HandPicked,” which earned him a nomination for best pop instrumental album at this year’s Grammy Awards. At 8 and 10:30 p.m., Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, Greenwich Village, 212-475-8592,; $35 cover at tables, $20 at the bar, with a $5 minimum.

Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns Tour (Thursday) 

Mr. Koz, the alto saxophonist, entrepreneur and smiling ambassador of smooth jazz, is still riding the momentum of “Summer Horns,” which earned a Grammy nomination and has spent more than a year on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. He has been on tour with the album’s saxophone front line — Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, all established solo artists — and will bring the whole contingent to the Smooth Cruise, a two-hour dinner jaunt around the southern tip of Manhattan. Departs at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., Hudson River Park Pier 40, Houston and West Streets, West Village, 866-468-7619,; $65, $90 with buffet; the early show is sold out.

Briggan Krauss Quartet (Friday) 

The alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss, possibly best known for his combustible presence in Sex Mob, leads two four-piece bands here, each a reflection of his personality. The Need, playing at 7 p.m., is a plugged-in outfit with Mr. Krauss doubling on electric guitar, with effects; also in the lineup are the guitarist Brandon Seabrook, the bassist J. Granelli and the drummer Jim Black. As for the Briggan Krauss Jazz Quartet, which follows at 8:15 p.m., its declarative name shouldn’t be confused for an easygoing approach. It will feature Mr. Black, along with Jacob Sacks on piano and John Hébert on bass. ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn,; $10.

Harold Mabern Trio (through Sunday) 

The pianist Harold Mabern, an endlessly soulful hard-bopper originally from Memphis, has a fine new live album — “Right on Time,” on the Smoke Sessions label — that gives some indication of the ground he’ll cover during this run. As on the album, he’ll be working with his regular rhythm team of John Webber on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums, and probably playing standards along with some familiar but surprising fare (like “Making Our Dreams Come True,” the theme song from “Laverne & Shirley”). At 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village, 212-255-4037,; $25 and $30 cover, with a one-drink minimum.
Nellie McKay (Friday and Saturday) 

Ms. McKay, the winningly diabolical jazz singer, cabaret conceptualist and wiseacre-provocateur, presents her new show, “A Girl Named Bill: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton” — inspired by the transgender bandleader and pianist, who has also inspired books, plays and at least one opera. Her backing band features Cary Park on guitar, Alexi David on bass and Kenneth Salters on drums. At 8 p.m. 54 Below, 254 West 54th Street, Manhattan, 646-476-3551,; $50 to $85 cover in advance, $5 extra at the door, with a $25 minimum.

Pat Metheny Unity Group and Bruce Hornsby (Friday) 

The Pat Metheny Unity Group, which has been on the road for much of this year, represents a culmination of recent efforts by its namesake guitarist: quicksilver acoustic post-bop along with the sweep of his orchestrion, with a generous helping of poplike emotional clarity. This concert, part of a “Campfire Tour,” sets up the ensemble on a double bill with Mr. Hornsby, the singer-songwriter and pianist, with the promise of some collaborative energies. At 8 p.m., New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center Street, Newark, 888-466-5722,; $39 to $99.

Camila Meza and Fabian Almazan (Friday) 

A bright young singer and guitarist with an ear for music of both folkloric and pop intention, Ms. Meza has connected with a strong peer group since moving to New York from her native Santiago, Chile, in 2009. Among her frequent partners is Mr. Almazan, an ambitious Cuban pianist and composer, who joins her in duologue here. At 9 and 11 p.m., the Jazz Gallery, 1160 Broadway, fifth floor, at West 27th Street, 646-494-3625,; $22, $10 for members.

Mingus Big Band (through Monday) 

A 2011 Grammy winner for “Live at Jazz Standard,” this repertory band has held a Monday-night residency here for years. It also plays this weekend, filling in for a last-minute cancellation — and building as always on the rugged sophistication of Charles Mingus’s music, which still has the capacity to sound radical. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, Manhattan, 212-576-2232,; $25 and $30.

Jane Monheit’s Jazz Party (Sunday) 

Ms. Monheit is a jazz singer who has always fit the profile of an ingénue, though she has developed shades of complexity in her interactions with the standard repertory. She continues her Sunday night series at Birdland, during which she’s developing new material with her trusted band, including the pianist Michael Kanan, the bassist Neal Miner and her husband, the drummer Rick Montalbano. At 6 p.m., Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton, 212-581-3080,; $30 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Arturo Sandoval (through Sunday) 

Mr. Sandoval is a Cuban trumpeter best known for stratospheric bravado: He is capable of subtlety, but not predisposed toward it. His most recent album, “Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You),” reaffirms his allegiance to Dizzy Gillespie, the bebop patriarch who took him on as a protégé. At 8 and 10:30 p.m., Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, Greenwich Village, 212-475-8592,; $45 cover at tables, $30 at the bar, with a $5 minimum.
Swallow-Talmor-Nussbaum (Wednesday) 

“Singular Curves” is the altogether charming new release by this collective post-bop trio, made up of the bassist Steve Swallow, the saxophonist Ohad Talmor and the drummer Adam Nussbaum. The album’s air of firmly self-assured chamber interplay gives some idea of what should unfold here. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, Manhattan, 212-576-2232,; $20.
Greg Ward Quartet (Thursday) 

 A versatile young saxophonist with a full plate of sideman activity, Greg Ward fills his work with nods to electronic music, postrock and other modern enticements. His quartet includes the guitarist Dave Miller, the bassist Zack Lober and the drummer Kenneth Salters. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, 212-989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bix Youth Jazz Band Entertains with the Sounds of Another Era

Barely into their teens, clean-faced and wide-eyed, the musicians tentatively strode onstage. The lights went up and the audience cheered as the young players tore into a ferocious set of smooth jazz.
And so it went down, at the wild hour of noon on a Saturday, in a convention room at the Davenport RiverCenter. The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Youth Jazz Band, comprised of adolescent musicians from throughout the Quad-City area, entertained about 100 fans as part of the 43rd annual festival named for Davenport’s music legend.

“It was a fabulous show,” Patricia Bare of Walcott said. “These young people’s enthusiasm for jazz and the dedication it takes to play it so well is impressive.”

“I thought it was great,” said Don Barr of St. Joseph, Mo. “I used to play this kind of music when I was younger, although it was quite a bit more popular with young people back then. I thought they did a terrific job.”

That said, when most people think of teens playing in a band, the sounds of rock, rap or electronic dance music come to mind. This show was all about the brass, not the bass. What is it about the eternal sound of the Prohibition Age that charms a group born after the death of rapper Biggie Smalls, let alone Bix?

“The music just gets you really into the rhythm,” said Jarred McClendon, 15, of Rock Island, who has been playing with the band for three years. “I really enjoy how there are so many different types of beats and music. It’s not just one basic thing over and over.”

“My sister was in youth band before, and I didn’t like it then, but once I started playing it, I really liked it,” said Stephanie Hesse, 18, of Bettendorf. “It’s a lot of fun, and the crowds are so grateful we’re keeping the music alive. Plus you get to hang out with a lot of great musicians.”
“My grandfather used to listen to it all the time, so I grew up hearing it, and I really like playing it,” said Katy Fier, 17, of Clinton. “I like it better than today’s music because it’s so heartfelt. It has more heart and soul.”

Even more than Justin Bieber?

“Yes, oh yeah,” Fier said, laughing.